“Merry Christmas” and “Happy holidays” should be able to co-exist peacefully.
Every year around this time, the debate arises about whether Christmas is being slighted by businesses that instruct their employees and promotions to focus on the word “holiday.”
Among those raising the issue is the conservative, nonprofit Liberty Counsel, which recently noted that a Rassmusen Reports poll showed 70 percent of respondents prefer “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays” on store signs.
For the 10th year, Liberty Counsel published a “Naughty and Nice” list, which lists more than 50 national retailers that either “censor” Christmas, considered “naughty,” or recognize it, “nice.” It urges consumers to use the list as a shopping guide.
Among those who make absolutely no mention of the word “Christmas” in their advertising or by sales clerks are Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, Banana Republic, the Gap and J Crew.
Included in the list of retailers who include “Christmas” in their advertising are Best Buy, Dick’s, JC Penney, Kmart, L.L. Bean and Lowe’s.
Press-Republican Facebook asked readers for their take on the issue, and we were flooded with responses. Here is a
Daniel William Barlow: “Why is this even an issue? Businesses need to appeal to as many folks as possible and recognizing that not all of their customers are Christian or celebrate Christmas is just good business.”
James E. Farquharson: “This is America, our country, born of In God We Trust. We are forgetting or tossing aside the foundation of our country. Christmas is a celebration of Christ’s birth, not a commercial for business. America is sadly selling out to any and all for the $. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all.”
Bonnie Shatraw Wingler: “At this time of year there is more than just one holiday, although Christmas is the Christian holiday, there is also Hanukkah, New Year’s, Kwanzaa, etc. ‘Happy Holidays’ is perfectly appropriate IMO.”
Mary Fredette McLean: “Keep Christ in Christmas! Tis the reason for the season.”
Hannah Bushey: “I don’t think there are very many people who are horribly offended if they don’t celebrate Christmas and someone wishes them a Merry Christmas. I’ve worked in retail for years, and it was corporate policy to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas, but no one had an issue with either. I think the ‘politically correct’ thing is getting a bit out of hand. There will always be someone who is offended. People should try and not get offended so easily.”
Carynn Arnold: “Happy Holidays .... there is no way to know the religion of the person you are waiting on. A good Christian wouldn’t get so bent out of shape over it, either.”
Dorothy Betters: “Christ was born; we celebrate Christmas. Anything else but Merry Christmas makes no sense. Jesus Christ, the son of God, was born to die for our sins. It is right to give him our honor respect and reverence.”
Larry Bracey: “Merry chrismahanakwanza.”
Our take? Mix it up a little. “Happy Holidays” covers Christmas and New Year’s, as well as other religious celebrations. And since Christmas means Santa and celebrations to non-Christians too, “Merry Christmas” also works. Clerks who see someone with an armful of Christmas wrapping paper are probably safe to say “Merry Christmas.”
Stores can include both signs, keeping everyone happy.